Sunday, October 09, 2005

Commandments for Copywriters and Clients

Here's wishing you a year of peace, health, prosperity and joy!

In this time of introspection and (hopefully) self-improvement. We’ve all got our lists of things we have to work on. I put together this list of my own after I heard an agency head say, "Sometimes the client is right!" You might say it was a revelation....

Commandments for Copywriters:
  1. CARE ABOUT YOUR CLIENT. You have to want the client to succeed...not just your own work.
  2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Become an expert on your client’s business. Understand why people buy, or don’t buy, the product.
  3. KEEP AN OPEN MIND (OR A CLOSED MOUTH). Listen, really listen, to everything the client tells you. If you’re too busy thinking of what to say next, you may miss a key phrase or central strategy statement. Plus, you’ll argue less.
  4. ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t be too proud or embarrassed to say you don’t know or don’t understand something. Bashful people don’t learn.
  5. GIVE IT YOUR BEST. Tom Collins said, “Advertising is hard!” Work at it. You’ll feel better. Besides, this is direct marketing. We live by repeat business. That means repeat business from clients too. Plus, you’ll sleep better.
Commandments for Clients:
  1. FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE: Remember that one? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Treat your copywriters with respect. You just might get some in return.
  2. SUGGEST, DON’T SLAUGHTER. Sometimes you will not like something. Make sure it’s not just whining. Be specific. It’s not enough to say, “I don’t like it.”
  3. TRY TO BE RIGHT, NOT PRESIDENT. President Ronald Reagan had a sign on his desk that said “IT CAN BE DONE!” But he was mistaken. Not everything can be done. Certainly not exactly when you want it. Be realistic, if not reasonable. Don’t ask for your job “yesterday.” And don’t demoralize people with “Hurry up and wait!” When a job is submitted for approval, don’t sit on it. If you don’t treat it as a rush job, nobody else will.
  4. WE’RE ALL IN IT FOR THE MONEY. Copywriters’ time is their money. Don’t waste it with unnecessary, rambling meetings. Most important, pay your people. Fairly. On time. They work hard and fast to make you money. Return the favor.
  5. THOSE MAGIC WORDS STILL WORK. When’s the last time you said “Thank you!” for a job well done? A warm, sincere thank-you letter (with prompt payment) is the surest ticket to VIP treatment

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